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Will I regret leaving work to write f/t?

(22 Posts)
TheGirlWhoWrites Thu 04-Feb-16 14:49:55

I juggle a day job with being a mum and writing novels... plus, ya know, all the other stuff that comes with life!

My earnings from writing novels is going up, enough to match my full time wage this year. I've gone down to three days a week in my current role, focusing on writing one day a week and being with my little girl the other. But it's still a struggle with deadlines etc.

I enjoy my job, get on great with my colleagues. But my passion is writing. And as I've said, it's very hard juggling it all, there's lots of writing and admin etc happening in evenings so I'm exhausted. Domestic stuff is really falling behind (not the mo the stuff though I hope!). Hubby is a great support but he works crazy hours sometimes.

I'm thinking it's time to take the plunge and give up the day job to write and also do some freelance PR / social media / editing (my day job skills) just so I can keep a foot in the business world. I feel I just can't really make a go of the writing if I don't. And life in general as things are hard to balance. But I'm SCARED! Sure, my writing has gone well because my last book sold well. But will the next? Where's the long term security? What about my pension, other benefits?

Hubby seems supportive but has similar concerns and did say last night maybe wait to see how next book does. But it's not out until summer and I need to give 3 months notice to work!


CityDweller Thu 04-Feb-16 14:54:31

Do it. You already have an established career as a writer, I think you'd be mad not to devote yourself to it. And you'll be amazed and how easily/ how much freelance work you can get too.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 04-Feb-16 15:00:38

The danger is that you get perceived as the one with the flexible, less important job so if something comes up you are the one who picks up the slack, and you end up with no more time to write than before. This is especially risky if your dh works long hours. If you were single I would be saying go for it, as it is you should be very careful.

MiddleClassProblem Thu 04-Feb-16 15:05:30

If you already do freelance bits and pieces is it possible to just do it on an ad hoc basis? Or go back to it after a month or two trial?

With your skills it sounds like you might be able to do the occasional job here and there

juneau Thu 04-Feb-16 15:16:14

I agree - do it. If you don't you'll always wonder what you might've been able to achieve if you'd just given it your all. Your last book sold well (congratulations!), so you're all set to make even more money this time and you already have an audience and name recognition. Go for it.

phoebemac Thu 04-Feb-16 15:36:19

Is this year the first year your income from your novels has matched your day job earnings? If so I would think about maybe giving it another year or before taking the plunge? How many books are you contracted for at the moment?

I know the deadline juggling is hard and stressful, but would writing your novels knowing it's your only source of income also put you under stress ?

But another part of me thinks go for it! Life is short.

TheGirlWhoWrites Thu 04-Feb-16 17:24:20

Hi, thanks for all your comments! MiddleClassProblem I cant do ad-hoc freelancing at the mo as have a tight novel deadline that will take up all my time before June. But I could do some after June to see how it goes.

PhoebeMac Yes, this is the first year my writing income has done so well. The problem I have is without more time, I can't produce more stuff beyond what I'm contractually obliged to. If I had now time, I could be much more prolific and give myself the chance of earning even more.

Countess I've actually said I'd have 'contingency' time to deal with that sort of stuff but know it could become an issue.

I think I might wait until I'm less busy with current book then try some freelancing in my spare time to see how it goes. But due to the three month notice, this could mean I wouldn't leave until end of year. Part of my desire to leave the day job is to be prolific, to really give it a go, to dig out old novels I've written in a different genre and trucker to try to get more book deals. So basically a 'give it a go' year of dedicated writing to see what it brings.

FauxFox Thu 04-Feb-16 17:27:43

Would your job let you take a year out? Might be worth asking?

TheGirlWhoWrites Thu 04-Feb-16 17:34:00

FauxFox I could take a year out but can't get paid from what I gather from the rules so defeats the object.

TheGirlWhoWrites Thu 04-Feb-16 17:34:25

As in paid to do freelance work.

Tournesol Thu 04-Feb-16 17:36:40

I say go for it! The skills you have a very desirable in the freelance market so you can always supplement writing income with freelancing your other skills.

I write non fiction books and do the odd bit of journalism and editing to keep the money coming in but I only work three days a week. I am really looking forward to September when my youngest starts school and I can devote more time to building my writing portfolio.

You only live once, roll the dice and go for it!

NoTimeLikeSnowTime Fri 05-Feb-16 13:17:03

I would be tempted to take a year off, meet with your employers to explain why and get an agreement in place that you can earn money as long as its not from a direct competitor?

Anyone else itching to know what sort of books you write?! grin Am very very impressed!

ImperialBlether Fri 05-Feb-16 13:20:20

Are you self-published or do you have an agent and a publisher? The problem with self-publishing is that if the sales drop it's really difficult to raise them again. Once they're selling well they can continue to sell well, but once that stops you can be stuck.

TheGirlWhoWrites Fri 05-Feb-16 13:44:00

NoTimeLikeSnowTime I write suspense / thrillers but that's as far as I'll go as I reckon my boss is on MB so might see this!

ImperialBlether I have an agent and publisher (a 'big' publisher). Even being published by one of the big publishers doesn't guarantee long term earnings and that's what I'm struggling with. But I have the chance to build up a freelance portfolio with my day job experience as a backup.

ImperialBlether Fri 05-Feb-16 13:53:11

Ooh that's what I write, too! I love reading them too. Don't suppose you'll tell me your name in a PM so I can read one of your books, will you?

MissBattleaxe Fri 05-Feb-16 15:50:33

In your shoes I would pack in the day job without a second's hesitation. However, make it clear that between 9 and 5 you are working as a writer and not available for phone calls/ laundry/picking up parcels.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Thu 03-Mar-16 20:53:51

I would pack it in too. I'm
Just wondering where the freelancers amongst you pick up work. Any tips?

isabelle01 Fri 04-Mar-16 21:57:55

Sounds like it's going really well! You have a lot of people who trust in you, so go for it! Which publisher are you with?

venusandmars Fri 04-Mar-16 22:21:11

Well, I'll go against the grain here, and say don't give up your 3 day a week paid employment steady income role. (and I say this as a fellow writer).

Squeeze the writing of your next book into all your spare moments - 5 minutes in the shower to dream up a plot, or to refine your characters, 30 minutes on the train to write furiously (and then another 30 minutes of the way home).

In the meantime, save, and save, and save 90% of all your income from your writing - the other 10% is for much deserved and welcome treats.

Then.... after your second book, have a look at your savings, and your book income and your possible income.... and then decide what to do.

TheGirlWhoWrites Thu 10-Mar-16 08:11:16

Just to update everyone, I've handed in my notice so thanks for all your advice! I mentioned it to a few people and it became clear I could get a good amount of freelance work to supplement my writing too (one day a week or one off projects when no tight deadlines). This includes my employer who said straight away when I handed in my notice they'd like to book me for freelance work. So that helped me realise I could still keep me hand in if the writing income went tits up next year.

Great advice venusandmars. That's what I've been doing for the past two years really. My second book came out last year, my third is this year. So I'm at that stage you mentioned where I have savings from writing income with more income coming soon in royalties and foreign deal income. It's kind of taken me some time to come to this decision.

whyistherumgone Fri 15-Apr-16 11:15:43

i would love to know which books you've published - im a fledgling writer and freelancer myself and have a passion for suspense/thrillers. maybe if you dont mind you could PM me with your book links? smile

crazywriter Mon 18-Apr-16 22:49:03

I was going to say save up first. You want at least six months income just in case. I'm a freelance writer and only did it full time because I was out of work and couldn't claim job seekers while I found another job. I'm glad that happened because of where I am today but it took a good year to get the income up and navigate the waters of freelancing and start making enough for savings.

As a pp said you could end up picking up the slack. Make sure others know that work is work, regardless of what you do and where you do it. I've stopped answering my phone during the day because some family members think I can take for an hour!

Great to hear about your employer though. Also great about the books. Good luck with the decision.

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